Update Automated Power Systems On The Fly

Many facilities require reliable power-control systems to keep HVAC, lighting, and critical equipment running at all times. Replacing outdated control systems is not always the most effective approach.


Douglas H. Sandberg


Prime, emergency, and standby on-site power systems that are more than 10 years old may be outdated and even incapable of providing adequate power to automated systems and conventional power loads that must operate around the clock. Why is that, considering that engine-generator sets and power-transfer switching mechanisms are so durable? There are a number of reasons.

Foremost is that equipment controls become obsolete comparatively quickly. While engine-generator technology has remained fairly consistent, controls have evolved from bulky electromechanical relays to basic transistors and now to programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Today’s controllers offer tremendous flexibility for designers, owners, and those who maintain them. The control logic remains pretty much the same as with relays, but changes and updates are made within a software program. There’s no need to add relays, timers, or to re-wire components. PLCs are faster, offer greater functionality, and are more precise and reliable than previous control technologies.

Exponential advances in control technology are the primary reason controls become obsolete relatively quickly. The result is an on-site power system that uses a mix of durable machinery (engine-generators, fuel systems, ventilation systems, and load banks) and controls that are subject to premature obsolescence.

This situation creates real problems for building managers, hospital engineers, consultants, and anyone else charged with maintaining life-sustaining infrastructures. It’s a dichotomy and raises a serious question: What can you do?

The first step is to understand the three basic control groups of an on-site power system:

  • Sensory inputs. These are sensors that monitor oil pressure, coolant and exhaust temperature, and fuel supply.
  • The brain. This is a central controller, such as a PLC, that acts on sensory inputs.
  • Active and passive outputs. An active output shuts down an engine when oil pressure drops below a pre-set limit. A passive output turns on an indicator light or sends an alert.

Besides engine-generators, two other systems are required for on-site, power-transfer switches and monitoring and control capabilities.

Automatic transfer switches
Automatic transfer switches also have experienced some of the same issues as engine generators. The switching mechanism has remained durable over many years, while advances in technology have greatly improved control technology. The transfer switch is the system that makes it possible to transfer loads from one power source to another. Without it, on-site power systems as we know them today would not exist.

There are four types of workhorse transfer switches: open transition, closed transition, delayed transition, and soft load.

The open-transition transfer switch breaks from one power source before it connects with another.

The closed-transition transfer switch also breaks from the utility, or normal, source when power fails before connecting to on-site power. When utility power returns, however, this transfer switch transfers loads back to utility power before it breaks the connection with on-site power. This ensures continuous power to critical loads.

The delayed-transition transfer switch delays load transfers to allow large electrical fields, associated with large inductive loads, to collapse before connecting with another power source. This limits potentially damaging in-rush current.

The soft-load transfer switch enables both normal and on-site active power sources to be simultaneously connected to loads. By paralleling the normal, or utility, source and the on-site power source, loads can be “walked” from one source to the other by increasing or decreasing engine-generator loading.

These transfer switches also are available with bypass isolation capability. A manual transfer switch is integrated with the automatic transfer switch, which allows the automatic transfer switch to be taken off line for maintenance while still protecting critical loads.

Monitoring and control capabilities
Advances in technology and computers, and the advent of the Internet, make it possible to be thousands of miles away, yet still monitor the operation of your critical system and, in some cases, control it as well. Controls may be managed with a PC, laptop, or PDA-type device.

Today, real-time monitoring, trending, and management of critical systems are realities from just about anywhere in the world. The ease of operation, flexibility, and functionality offered by current monitoring and control …

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Hospital Kitchen Gets A “Homey” Touch

At the heart of the kitchen is a Cambria peninsula-style kitchen table surrounded by perimeter countertops. Cambria’s Nottingham color, a choice from its popular Quarry Collection, is featured throughout the kitchen. It was selected because of its rich, radiant color, and blends beautifully with the entire kitchen design. Cambria donated nearly 100 sq. ft. of product and installation services for both the kitchen renovation and a bathroom update.

The children’s hospital and the DIY network were looking for a countertop manufacturer partner that offered a food-safe and easy-to-maintain product so families needn’t spend a lot of time cleaning or worrying about food-safety issues. Cambria fit the criteria because it is virtually non-absorbent and is certified for commercial use by the National Sanitation Foundation Int’l., Ann Arbor, MI. Additionally, no special maintenance is required and the countertops do not need sealing, buffing, or reconditioning.

The kitchen renovation project can be viewed one the…

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Avoid the Landfill by Recycling Vinyl Roofing

The time has come to establish a post-consumer, vinyl-roof recycling program in the U.S.


Carl De Leon, Vinyl Roofing Div., CFFA


Skyrocketing raw-material costs, higher landfill tipping fees, legislation to restrict disposal of construction materials-and an architectural community that demands the lightest environmental footprint that can be achieved-all are leading toward the mainstreaming of post-consumer recycling. In the not-too-distant future, specifiers will call for post-consumer content in a roof project. With its European counterparts blazing the trail, the North American vinyl (PVC) roofing industry has entered a new phase in its commitment to environmental sustainability through recycling.

Because thermoplastic single-ply vinyl membrane can be heated and reformed repeatedly over its lifespan, it has long been an industry best practice to recover production trimmings and scrap and recycle the material into new membrane. Well-run, properly equipped vinyl-membrane production plants are capable of converting virtually all of the raw material and components that go into making the membrane into the final installed roof system (or other applications).

The re-roofing of Boston’s Marriott Long Wharf hotel was a pilot project with an ideal recycling scenario. The project was close to the membrane manufacturer’s head office, and a local recycler had an established program for handling thermal insulation.

Typical post-industrial recycled products have included accessories such as roofing walkway pads, commercial-grade flooring, and concrete expansion joints. In addition, scrap can be reintroduced as a raw material into a subsequent membrane-manufacturing process. Some roofing manufacturers collect their customers’ scrap, as well as the general-purpose scrap of other vinyl fabricators, for reuse in production of new membranes.

Building on this track record, the member manufacturers of the Vinyl Roofing Div. of the Chemical Fabrics & Film Association (CFFA), Cleveland, have initiated a feasibility study to evaluate strategies for making post-consumer recycling workable on a broad scale, as it has been in Europe for many years.

Where it began
Vinyl roofs have been in use for more than 40 years in Europe, and roofing manufacturers there have been recycling retired roofs into other useful products since 1994. That was the year a consortium of companies funded the construction and operation of a facility in Germany to reclaim the growing volume of vinyl membranes at the end of their service lives, and return them to the original manufacturers.

Over the years, the material taken back has been used in a variety of applications, including as feedstock in the production of new roofing membranes. Typically incorporated into the back side of the sheet where potential color variations are not a factor, the recovered material can comprise 5% to 15% by weight of the finished product. Reports from the field indicate that, at 10+ years of age, the first membranes made with recycled post-consumer material are performing the same as membranes produced of virgin raw materials.

Today, RoofCollect, a European Single Ply Waterproofing Association (ESWA) program, (www.eswa.be), coordinates the recovery and processing of post-consumer vinyl roofing membranes. In conjunction with the European Commission, ESWA sets annual targets for post-consumer roof recycling. In 2006, 4.4 million lb. of roofing membrane were recycled due to the efforts of the association.

ESWA is now working with the recycler Interseroh (Cologne, Germany) to establish a pan-European collection system that would facilitate recycling in closer proximity to the job site. ESWA is also investigating strategies for incorporating higher percentages of recycled material into finished membranes.

Less is more
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, construction and demolition waste total an estimated 136 million tons annually. The vinyl roofing industry is committed to combining existing post-consumer recycling technologies with logistical expertise to limit its contribution to these numbers.

Post-consumer recycling of vinyl roof membranes in the U.S. began in 1999. Working in tandem with a vinyl membrane manufacturer, a Massachusetts recycling company produced a highway cold-patching material made from old vinyl roofing membranes and other recovered plastics. Today, state-of-the-art grinding equipment makes it possible to process roofing membrane and convert it into feedstock for new materials.

Only membranes that have been mechanically attached or loose laid have been reprocessed in North America. There is no experience as yet with membranes that have been adhered to insulation or to other substrates, but …

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Laundry Facility Goes HighTech, Inside and Out

To meet current and future laundry demands, SOMC consolidated its laundry services and highlighted the building’s exterior with metal composite wall panels.


SOMC’s new laundry facility features a FormaBond exterior with a deep-blue coating.

To consolidate laundry services into one building, house new equipment, and make ergonomic and efficiency improvements, Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) built a new facility and highlighted the structure’s administrative area. The new facility allows the department, which handles more than 7,000 lb. of laundry each day, to meet current and future needs and creates the capacity needed to begin marketing linen services to other healthcare providers.

SOMC is an acute-, health-care system in Portsmouth, OH, comprised of a primary-care hospital, five satellite centers, an urgent-care center, a long-term care facility, and a retirement center. Departments and facilities located at the East Campus include Hospice of Southern Ohio, Staff Development, Community Relations, and the laundry facility.
To put the spotlight on the administrative area, SOMC used approximately 1,360 sq. ft. of FormaBond from Centria, Moon Township, PA, with a deep-blue coating called night horizon blue. The SOMC project marked the product’s debut. The project also specified three Centria exposed-fastener panel profiles and the Formavue 200 window system.

“We were very pleased with this project and hope to specify FormaBond again,” said Bob McGregor, project architect, Tanner Stone & Co. architectural firm in Portsmouth, OH.

FormaBond metal composite wall panels are formed, complete with rain screen, pressure-equalized joinery, and delivered from the factory to the job site, ready to install. This minimizes shipping and fabrication costs and time delays associated with traditional aluminum composite materials, where fabrication represents an additional step. FormaBond offers a dry seal, complete design flexibility, and customization with crisp folds, smooth curves, and sharp corners. The smooth aluminum face and liner is 60% thicker than conventional aluminum-composite materials and features a standard highly cross-linked polymeric core that meets fire-code requirements for both low- and high-rise buildings.

Exposed-fastener-profile wall panels are highly versatile and can be installed horizontally or vertically. These field-assembled panels feature all-weather installation capability that minimizes delays and allows fast-track scheduling. The panels are available insulated in combination with a metal liner panel or as the exterior single skin element in a multi-component wall design and can be used as walls, roofs, liners, and soffits.

Formavue window systems are designed to integrate with the company’s panel joinery, resulting in a high performance window/panel interface, and eliminating the problem of coordinating window and metal panel intersections. The advanced, thermally improved design features a thermal barrier that minimizes through-metal conductivity, while maintaining structural integrity.…

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Cladding With Copper

The versatility, appearance, and durability of copper cladding have increased demand for the material both as an exterior covering and building trim.


Mark Kenville


Long life and low maintenance are the driving forces behind any commercial building exterior treatment. Of the many available options, metal has emerged as the cladding of choice in many parts of the country. In New England, there has been a notable trend by designers and builders to use copper cladding for new construction and renovations. The metal has become particularly popular in school designs.

“Our firm uses a lot of metal cladding in our educational designs,” said Pip Lewis, AIA, a senior associate at HMFH Architects Inc., Cambridge, MA. “More often than not, we use copper panels over other manufactured metals. We like using copper because of its longevity, as well as its appealing look. I like to add copper for some punch to a design, even if it’s only in a canopy over an entryway. Copper adds a tactile depth of texture and conveys a great sense of quality as you’re entering the building.”v

The entrance to the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Beaver Country Day School uses copper cladding to visually connect the new building with the old classroom building. Brick further enhances the architectural integration.

Additionally, Lewis noted that copper is a slightly less expensive than brick and does not require any maintenance. “Copper lasts for years. Although the patinas will change slightly, it doesn’t need repainting like other metals,” Lewis said

Similarly, Dan Flanagan, division manager for institutional work at Erland Construction, Burlington, MA, commented that, in his experience, metal has become more popular in school building projects. “We’ve been involved in the construction of several educational buildings where metal cladding has been used prominently. Metals are more flexible in design and aren’t as costly as brick,” he said. He added that his company had completed a number of school projects recently that incorporated copper in a variety of design elements.

This movement toward use of copper on building exteriors is driven by its durability and attractiveness. It is a highly malleable metal that is easily fabricated, will not rust or corrode, and never needs painting. Because of its environmentally friendly qualities, copper is being incorporated into many university projects to generate LEED credits and certification.”

An example of this trend can be seen at the Beaver Country Day School, Chestnut Hill, MA, where copper cladding was instrumental in integrating the modern design of a new visual and performing arts center with the architecture of 80-yr.-old New England brick structures.

Beaver Country Day School was incorporated in 1920 by a group of Boston-area parents who wished to have a “progressive” school where students were taught through creativity and play, as well as hard work. Today, the school is a private, independent, co-educational, college-preparatory institution with 410 students in grades 6 through 12. In 1999, the school initiated a master plan to meet its growing academic program and an anticipated increase in enrollment, while maintaining its standard of educational excellence. HMFH Architects was hired in early 2002 to plan and design an expansion and renovation of the existing 17-acre wooded campus to address program needs in performing and visual arts and athletics.

One of the priority projects was to address the need for a substantial amount of additional space for visual and performing arts. Although renovating and expanding underused existing space was initially considered, the decision was made to construct a new facility and connect it to the existing main classroom building.

For Lewis, being charged with designing the school’s new Visual and Performing Arts Center involved incorporating a state-of-the-art facility with the existing buildings of the school’s campus-some of which dated back to the 1920s. It was a project full of endless creative possibilities.

“Officials at the school did not place any restrictions on the facility design,” Lewis said. “There were no preconceived thoughts on how it should look.” Yet, Lewis recognized that the building was part of a long-established New England educational environment and needed to harmonize with the surroundings. While several designs were proposed, a brick structure with exterior copper cladding and accents helped bridge the …

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Window Film Repels Solar Heat

Occupants of Inlow Hall at Eastern Oregon Univ., an historical building, used a spectrally selective window film to reduce the effects of solar heat while not compromising the building’s appearance


According to the California Energy Commission, 30% of a building’s cooling requirement is a function of heat entering through existing glass. Carol Kroll, director of human resources at Eastern Oregon Univ., La Grande, OR, certainly is a believer in that statistic. Her office in Inlow Hall, the university administration building, faces a wall of glass through which the sun often raised temperatures to more than 90 F.

Thanks to V-Kool’s clear, spectrally selective window film, Inlow Hall occupants are able to work in a cooler environment.

“It was impossible to work in the afternoons,” Kroll declared, explaining that an air-conditioning unit in an outer office did little to cool things down. In an effort to block incoming solar energy, Kroll applied gold- and silver-colored heat reflective film to the interior of her office windows. The result was not much of a drop in temperature but a definite raising of administrative eyebrows.

“Inlow Hall is an historic structure whose appearance can’t be altered,” Kroll explained. The use of colored film on her office windows was very visible and substantially changed the external appearance of the two-story building, which was built in 1929 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Rather than jeopardize the revered building’s enlistment in the National Register, Kroll removed the colored film from her office windows and tried less-obvious heat blocking options, including traditional window blinds and shower curtain rods from which was hung a room-darkening fabric. Nothing seemed to bring the temperature to acceptable levels.

Fortunately, Kroll learned about V-Kool clear window film, manufactured by V-Kool Inc., Houston. The product was originally developed for the United State’s space and defense programs and with a process known as sputtering in which tiny particles of exotic metals are embedded in optically clear, durable polyester film. A durable, pressure-sensitive adhesive is adhered on one side of the film. On the other side is a durable scratch-resistant coating to ensure a long life. V-Kool is spectrally selective and allows in 73% of visible light, while blocking more than 90% of the infrared spectrum. This means windows remain visibly clear but cut out 55% of the solar heat.

“We were particularly interested in V-Kool because it is a clear film that blocks heat, reduces the temperature, and does not change the appearance of a building,” Kroll explained.…

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Windows Let the Sun Shine In

Windows from Simonton provide sunlight for multi-housing living spaces.


Even with an age difference of 50 years, college students and senior citizens benefit from ample amounts of sunlight. Both groups, at several multi-housing facilities across the country, are energized by natural sunlight exploding into their living spaces.

Azuza Pacific Univ.’s Trinity Hall boasts 420 insulating glass units filled with argon gas that reduces temperature transference and helps reduce outside noise.

At Kendal on Hudson’s continuing-care retirement community on the banks of the Hudson River, almost 5,000 windows connect residents with outdoor views. The 20-acre complex has floor-to-ceiling windows in common rooms and easy-to-operate, crank-out casement windows in 222 living units.

“Our Hudson River Valley setting was specifically selected to offer residents wide vista views,” said Patricia Doyle, executive director of the Sleepy Hollow, NY-based Kendal on Hudson. “Our residents find the [abundant use] of Simonton windows (Simonton Windows, Parkersburg, WV) throughout our complex really helps create a positive ambiance and allows them to easily see the ever-changing countryside.”

Another adult-living community relying on extensive use of windows in its design is Prestwick Chase in historic Saratoga Springs, NY. “The segmented-arch, two-story atrium allowed us to connect residents with the outdoors using walls of windows,” said architect Ethan Halls with Rucinski Hall Architecture, Saratoga Springs. “This facility includes 167 suites and private cottages, along with major central gathering areas. It was important that we specify energy-efficient windows.”

“People at this facility are very active, so they don’t have the time or desire to worry about their homes. The advantages of vinyl windows and doors are plentiful. Our research clearly showed that products from Simonton would be the ideal fit,” Hall said.

Across the country, in Azuza, CA, David Zeidman, a supervisor with Commerce Construction, Azuza, CA, also found that window selection was a critical issue when constructing a dormitory for Azuza Pacific Univ. The five-story, 350-bed Trinity Hall freshman dorm was constructed with wings featuring meeting rooms, computer labs, and gathering spaces.

“We ordered low-e glass to help maintain even temperatures in the dorm rooms during all seasons,” Zeidman said. For energy efficiency, each of the 420 insulating glass units is filled with argon gas. The non-toxic, colorless gas reduces temperature transference from the outdoors to the interior of the dorm rooms. As an added benefit, the argon has helped reduce outside noise from penetrating the building, so students have a quiet study environment.

Other students living and going to classes with secure windows include those at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbus, SC. Before 250 Simonton vinyl windows were installed in the historic campus buildings, windows would not close properly, panes would fall out, and gusty winds blew through dorm rooms.

“Maintenance and upkeep on the old wood windows was killing us,” said Tom O’Brien, vice president of business affairs at the seminary. “I believe this is the first building on the Columbia Historic register with vinyl windows. They look like the windows we took out, but maintaining them is much easier. Most importantly, as energy costs escalate, we now have windows that offer us long-term savings.”

The maintenance ease and energy efficiency of vinyl windows is changing the way many multi-housing contractors view vinyl windows. According to Simonton’s senior product manager Bill Lazor, the same reliable construction that makes vinyl windows appealing for homeowners is duplicated ten-fold when dealing with multi-housing projects.

“We’re seeing a steady increase in the specification and installation of our vinyl windows and doors in multi-housing projects. From oceanfront apartment and condo complexes featuring our hurricane-resistant windows to historic renovation projects of campuses, the benefits of well-constructed vinyl windows are quickly expanding in the multi-housing marketplace,” Lazor said.…

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A Clear Design Goal

Today’s windows provide more than just a view. They have to protect, and even help to green, modern commercial spaces.


Joshua Early, TRACO


Windows in a commercial building provide a view to the outside world, but today are also becoming an integrated part of the overall building design and must satisfy more than just the building occupant. Architects, owners, facility managers, contractors, and historic-landmark experts all have higher expectations for windows. This increasingly includes a requirement that windows also contribute to today’s green building practices.

More than just providing a view to the outdoors, today’s windows help protect building and occupants.

Windows also have to satisfy a higher level of security against terrorist threats; provide protection against horrific weather; still provide natural daylight, energy savings, long-term performance; and offer architectural aesthetic appeal. Window research-and-development teams are exploring technologies such as dynamic glazing, photovoltaic designs, and automatic controls to meet a demanding and evolving commercial window market.

Green windows
According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources, i.e., energy, water, and materials, while reducing building impact on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal-throughout the building’s lifecycle.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, architects, real-estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, lenders, and government officials use LEED certification to help transform the built environment to sustainability. State and local governments across the country are adopting LEED for public-owned and public-funded buildings; there are LEED initiatives in federal agencies, including the Depts. of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, and State; and LEED projects are in progress in 41 countries, including Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and India.

Windows play a big role in green design. They contribute to indoor environmental quality, optimized energy performance, and recycled content for LEED project points. Energy-efficient products help with the overall building energy assessment and thermal comfort for the building occupants.

Windows are a primary source of energy exchange in a commercial building. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), Washington, windows are the weak link in the building envelope, and as much as 30% of the energy loss in buildings is through windows. One sq. ft. of window conducts approximately 10 times as much heat as 1 sq. ft. of wall. By increasing the energy efficiency of windows, a commercial building can reduce its requirement for air conditioning and heating, and because electricity is a major contributor of nitrogen oxide, help lower levels of nitrogen oxide emissions as well.

“Energy is an increasingly important issue for builders and developers these days. We have a great challenge with aluminum products, but we are continuing to find the technology to meet the standards. We have to maximize the performance of the components that are needed for new and renovated buildings,” said Mike Manteghi, director of research and development for window supplier TRACO, Cranberry Township, PA, and a board member of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), Greenbelt, MD.

The DOE is pushing to ultimately achieve zero-energy commercial buildings by the year 2025, according to Manteghi. “As a result, we are looking at the U-value of the overall product and solar-heat gain coefficient[SHGC]. We are also seeing a trend toward high-performance glass and the use of more glass in the future to brighten buildings,” Manteghi added.

There are two energy-code criteria that must be met-SHGC, and the U-value of the thermal property. High-performance windows with low U-factors result in inside glass surface temperatures much closer to the room air temperature. Windows with warm-edge technologies and non-metal frames are also less likely to have condensation on the frame or at the glass edge.

Using windows for daylighting offers several benefits to the building and its occupants. Daylighting can reduce electricity consumption from the interior lights when used in conjunction with automatic lighting controls. This saves energy costs when the natural daylight is sufficient and the electric lights are dimmed. Natural daylight also provides a healthier building environment by providing a positive effect on the occupants and potentially making the environment more productive. The following issues continue to be important in window design when considering …

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Glass Hardware Keeps Luxury Cars in View

The goal was to ensure that luxury cars, including Mercedes Benz and Jaguar, could be seen from every possible angle and to the best advantage. The answer was to install the Manet Compact system that includes glass hardware designed to maximize glass surf


Filled with high-end Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, and Lexus automobiles, the showroom at Manhattan Auto Group, New York, required a sleek interior design to display the luxury merchandise. One goal was to eliminate unwanted bulky hardware elements that would detract from the cars.

Privacy and an unobstructed view of the dealership’s high-end cars was accomplished with Dorma’s compact Manet system at the Manhattan Auto Group.

The Manet Compact system, a glass hardware product family that maximizes glass surfaces and transparency, was an ideal answer. The unobtrusive system, from Dorma Glass, Millersville, MD, is used throughout the showroom to provide a crystal-clear view of the exquisite cars on display, while Manet Compact pivot doors bring style to individual sales office and entrance doors.

The system was a perfect fit for the specialty automotive dealer, which bases its success partly on a superior car-shopping experience, including the elegant look and feel of the dealership. Upon entering the modern showroom, customers are greeted and brought into a specialty glass-encased office for privacy, but the merchandise remains in full view at all times. After meeting with a sales associate, the customer is either brought a car directly or may be taken to view the car in the multi-story showroom building.

The Manet Compact system can be used on 3/8- and 1/2-in. sliding and pivoting tempered-glass doors. It features stainless-steel fixtures and components to render a clean, modern, aesthetic look for corporate offices, meeting facilities, and other applications such as the Manhattan Auto Group.

Components that attach directly to the glass surface feature strong, flush-fitting, single-point fixings that deliver a tasteful, uncluttered appearance. Without squeezing the glass itself, the single-point fixings safely transfer all forces acting on the glass to the load-bearing structure. Their three-dimensional adjustment capabilities allow problem-free adjustments to uneven walls. Countersunk holes ensure flush fitting with the wall system, while plastic gaskets protect the glass from direct contact with the stainless-steel fitting.

The Manet pivoting-door system features an unconventionally designed visible center pivot that extends the entire length of the door. The system includes pivot bearings, pivot poles, overpanel/sidelight connectors, stops for overpanel and ceiling mounting, door handles and locks. The door system usually attaches with a floor pivot to a Dorma BTS floor closer, as it does in the Manhattan Auto Group facility interior floor plan.

For sliding glass doors, the system offers sliding door rollers that hang from sliding track tubes, guide rails, clamp fixings for the track tube, door handles, and locks. The rollers and track of the Manet sliding-door system enable the doors to glide back and forth almost inaudibly. Sliding doors fitted with the Manet system can be fixed in glass partition -wall assemblies and wall openings. Accurate positioning of the endstops on the track safely restricts the sliding movement of the door. To reduce noise transfer and to prevent drafts, the sliding doors can be fitted with perimeter brush profiles. Center locks or corner locks are optional.…

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Stop Mold With Prevention

Mold, or the perception that it’s present, can be very costly to contractors and owners. It also can devalue a building. Prevention is the only effective way to deal with it.


Charles Perry


Over the past several years, mold has crept into many thousands of commercial buildings and multifamily dwellings across the country, causing serious concern for builders. Perception is reality, and if the perception is that there is mold on-site, then the builder’s reputation will be tarnished, even if that particular strain of mold does not affect physical health.

This is especially true for three reasons.

  • There is no longer any coverage for mold in commercial or multifamily property-casualty insurance-a builder’s first line of defense prior to the past 2 yr.
  • Since insurance coverage is gone, the next alternative for a financial solution is litigation-one of the primary reasons lawsuits involving mold and real estate are being filed at a rate of ten or more per day. That has been the case for the past 3 yr.
  • Despite a decade of environmental changes in the building industry, including protocols having to do with issues such as asbestos, lead paint, and leaking underground-storage tanks, mold is an altogether different enemy. At least with any of those other environmental hazards, if you removed them, you knew they were gone, and you and your lender moved on. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with mold.

The conditions required for mold to grow are mold spores; moisture; a normal temperature range; and the presence of a food source, such as cellulose (paper), according to an analysis developed by the University of Florida, Gainsville, FL. Because temperatures, airborne spores, and moisture occur naturally, the only truly controllable variable is the food source. The food source primarily includes products with organic content, which account for approximately 80% of a building’s surface area. Water plus organic material means mold. As one consultant told me, “It means mold 100% of the time.”

Organic products, in the form of carpets, ceiling tiles, insulation, and paper-faced wallboard, have been major components of building construction for decades. When it comes to products with organic content, there are only two kinds: those with mold and those that will have mold. If mold is present and you have it removed, given the right climate or an unseen water-soaked area of the building, it will be back for another visit in 48 hr. If the conditions are right next year, the chances of another invasion are extremely good. If the growth is in a relatively inaccessible area, the mold can get out of control before it is noticed. The only real solution to the mold problem is prevention.

Mold, as found in this hotel room, is difficult and expensive to eliminate once it is established. Prevention during construction is the best way to handle this problem. Photo courtesy Williams Building Diagnostics Inc., Maple Glen, PA.

Four mold myths
Unfortunately, much of what people believe about mold is wrong. Here are four mold myths:

  • If you can control moisture, you can control mold. The fact is that humidity is always present. If you live in or build and finance properties in certain parts of the country, it will likely be worse. Humans, with our four bathrooms and our dishwashers, generate more moisture in a day than is allowed into a building by poor construction. Water is a fact of life.
  • Remediation is the solution. Once mold has become visible and able to be remediated, it’s too late. No matter what you do, unless you remove everything that might have caused the problem or “scraped the ground,” as they say; or unless you’ve moved from Texas to Minneapolis to escape the humidity, mold will likely return. Today’s average cost to remediate mold in a 2,000-sq.-ft. business is more than $40,000, and that’s just the first time around. In contrast, you could spend no more than a few hundred dollars on preconstruction mold prevention on that same building and stand a very good chance of never having to worry about mold contamination. One builder who specializes in $1- to $3-million houses on the East Coast, said, “The equivalent of making these homes mold resistant is
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